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News Archive for Tuesday October 12, 2010     Goto Current News Page

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More Reader Feedback on Apple's ATI X1900XT Replacement/Refund program
(Updated w/3 more reports this afternoon - later recd first.)
'Trying to catch up on the latest reader mail on the subject. (Ref: Sept 24th news page post re: Apple Doc on certain S/N ATI X1900 XT's w/distorted video - previous reader feedback posted in Sept. 27th and Sept. 29th news pages.)

"I own a 2006 Mac Pro and last week I went into an Apple store and exchanged my ATI x1900 card for an nvidia 8800gt. Regarding the make/model of the replacement card, the genius is supposed to ask you what version of OS X you are running. If you say Leopard or above, you will get an 8800GT. If you say anything older than Leopard, you'll get another x1900.
(IIRC the Mac 8800GT listed OS X 10.5.2 or later as reqd, but this is the first I heard of someone being asked about that - but I wrote several other readers today and so far one replied he was asked that question and one reader said he wasn't asked - see updates to earlier reports below. (I was told last month the replacement card orders were auto-converted to 8800GT orders - but then one reader said he got a Quadro - see below.) Thanks for including that note - good info for others to know.-Mike)

I did not bring my Mac Pro into the store, the Genius was a little miffed about me having removed the card myself (he wanted to test it), but he ordered the 8800GT for me which arrived in two days. I do not believe that the Apple Stores have the replacement cards in stock. They need to order the part which will take about two business days. You can take your ATI card back and use it until the nvidia card arrives.
-Robert L."

"Hello Mike, I also turned in my old 1900XT last week after reading the news on your site. It was the second of 5 graphics cards this old Mac Pro has seen so far, 3 of them died all of sudden shortly after warranty expired, so I was happy at least this one could maybe be replaced. I was hoping for a refund actually, because my Mac Pro now uses a flashed 4870 PC card and I need nothing less than a 5 year old card that might not even be worth the trouble being sold on ebay anymore.

In any case, I called Apple on the phone the monday after your news and the guy on the phone wasn't even aware of the exchange program yet. Also, the fact that I ordered the card along with a standard MacPro (the configuration with a built-in 1900XT wasn't available at the time and I needed a new machine fast) added some confusion, because the serial # of my Mac Pro was pretty much useless for them. All in all I was on the phone for about 45 minutes, and this was not a free call. In the end I was told to bring my graphics card and the Mac Pro's serial to an Authorized Reseller for confirmation and exchange for a new 1900XT.
I did that and at the store again nobody had heard of the exchange program. They almost sent me away, but I pointed the guy to your website and the link to the Apple tech doc there. Then I was given a lecture for not bringing the machine in, just the card. I replied both the Apple guy on the phone and the knowledge base told me I only need the card and serial, and that I have no car and would be less than willing to carry the whole Mac with me on the subway or pay a taxi. Finally they agreed to keep the card there and sent me home again for another call to Apple. This time on the Apple line I was asked why I didn't bring the whole computer ("... because I was told not to") and was again lectured a bit for my wrongdoings , then they told me to send my old bills to the Service Provider and tell them to get into their tech chat. A true case of one hand not knowing what the other does.

In any case, after two days of waiting I received a mail that I can pick up my exchange card and it was at least a 8800GT, which I consider just fair because back when the x1900XT died, this was the card I bought myself (which died again, just like it's replacement).

(Update - after getting the mail above, I wrote him asking if he was asked about the OS X version he was running.-Mike)
Yes indeed, I was asked what I'm running IIRC - this time (latest Snow Leo). Back when I bought the first 8800GT as a replacement I still had 10.4 and was horribly mad at the Apple store not mentioning anywhere that the card required 10.5.2 (they added that info later). I was basically forced to buy Leopard as well when I received the card. I was quite surprised about the reader with the Quadro card too. Silently I was hoping for a 5770, but I guess Apple has to clear the stock of ancient graphics cards nobody orders anymore. :)

Just for fun I replaced my 4870 with the new old card to try it out and was positively surprised, not just about the still very nice performance (I have many "nVidia - the way it's meant to be played" games that favor GeForce cards), but also about the much reduced noise, not to mention some quirks of the MSI-branded ATI that always annoyed me. So now my flashed 4870 is on the shelf and the exchange program was actually worth it in the end. Still, the service gave me some headaches and "facepalm" moments. :)
All the best, Chrisso"

"Hey Mike, Just wanted to chime in that Apple replaced my X1900XT with a 8800GT. I had a rather difficult time replacing it as my repair came up as a decline. I spoke to some helpful Applecare reps, and one in particular came through with getting it replaced with another ATI Radeon X1900XT Revision "2". I had to give my CC for the card incase I never returned the defective one (irked me but understood the need).
The card showed up last Thursday as an nVidia 8800GT with return Fedex box for the defective X1900XT. Received confirmation today that Apple received my defective card.
So, know anyone needing an nVidia 8800GT for their MacPro?
-Ed S."

This reader said he received a Quadro card (?!) - if anyone else does let me know.

(from Oct. 3rd mail)
"Mike, my ATI 1900XT was giving some line artifacts on my browser that had been a little getting worse, then the kernel panics and shutdowns occurred, but were infrequent.
I called the local Apple store and convinced them that I was entitled to just bring in my card and serial number of my Mac Pro Tower, and walk out with a new card. But when I got to the store 30 minutes later, they politely made me make an appointment with the Genius Bar, but had one available in 5 minutes (at 2PM on Friday).

They ordered a new card, which arrived the next evening. I did not need to bring in my Tower. The local Apple store called me on Saturday night at 8:30 PM and told me that the card arrived, and picked the card up this afternoon (Sunday). They gave me the card and the power cord, but not the box or instructions, if it arrived with one. It is an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 [512MB], which is not what others had gotten. (earlier reports here noted 8800GT card.)
Either way, it's working well. I was hoping that they had a typo on the paperwork and ordered the FX 5400, (do you mean FX4800? that was the last Mac Quadro card IIRC) but no luck. Thanks for the info. My Mac is working better thanks to your web site.
Bill M.
Medford, NJ
2006 Mac Pro Tower (Two 3.0 GHz dual-core cpus)"

And a report from a reader (outside the US) that (so far) has been offered only a replacement X1900:

(mail from yesterday w/reply today)
"Mike, I just heard from the service dept. supervisor at the local Apple dealer. He had been in contact with Apple in Ireland and they are only willing to offer a replacement card, regardless of the refund clause in the recall notice. (I think the refund offer is if you paid for a replacement card later - but as always YMMV. Haven't heard of anyone getting a refund yet (just replacement nvidia cards).-Mike)

Whether it is because it was a BTO option or some other reason, I don't know. According to the supervisor, he had very limited luck in getting any form of official statement or answer from the guys in Ireland until he asked if it was possible to get a replacement and even then they were rather reluctant to confirm or deny anything.

Essentially a pretty worthless deal for me as I upgraded to the 8800GT card over a year and a half ago and the guy agreed with me that the X1900XT cards are pretty much worthless anyway.
(Earlier reports here (except for the above one) noted the replacement card was an 8800GT. (Some noted the computer system automatically selected the 8800GT as the replacement and I assumed there was no leftover stock of Mac X1900's at this point.)
So I asked this reader to confirm what the replacement card was. (If it was an 8800GT, he may be able to sell it to recover some $$$.)-Mike
They are offering to replace the X1900XT card with another X1900XT card... so trying to sell that won't really begin to cover the cost of the purchase of the 8800GT.
(Update- After the later report today saying that pre-OS X 10.5 users are given X1900 cards (as 8800GT requires 10.5.2 or later), I wrote to ask him if they asked about his OS X version used.-Mike)
They never asked about which version of OSX I am running.

The service supervisor agreed to wait and see if they would have any luck when they press the issue with the next customer with a similar background. (If you had some info/proof that you ordered the 8800GT to replace the faulty X1900 maybe that would help - but unless you have a case number related to problems with the original X1900 (that apple support kept a record of) I doubt you'll get anywhere.)
He did confirm that he had got his fair share of faulty X1900XT cards in the past couple years.
I tried calling them today but the supervisor had left for the day. I'll be trying again tomorrow to see if he has heard of an 8800GT replacement option.
Regards, Fridgeir"

Hopefully their X1900 order will convert to an 8800GT at least. (As mentioned earlier there were 2 versions of the Mac 8800GT - one for 2006/7 Mac Pros (EFI32/PCIe 1.x) and one for later EFI64/PCIe 2 Mac Pros.)
This reminds me I have to add a FYI/Link to that apple doc to all the older articles here from the past on issues w/X1900s.(Eddie promised to do that weeks ago but hasn't yet. He did add a link to the first post w/apple doc on the video topics page, graphics card section.)
I welcome other reader feedback on the X1900 replacement/refund program. (Note: Please let me know if you were asked about your OS X version and what card you are getting. Thanks.)

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